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26th September
posted by amber


That was where I discovered I could be a different person. I walked into the conference room, still thinking I was at the Associated Pharmacists’ Association Annual General Meeting, I went up to the registration table, gave them my name and was given a name tag. Granted, Jeff Wallace is a common enough name, and perhaps I was negligent not to look at the logo on the name tag. APW. Not APA.

The woman behind the table told me, “We’ve run out of copies of the agenda. We’re making more, but why don’t you duck into the Versailles Room and listen to the first guest speaker, and by the time that’s over, we’ll have a copy for you.”

“This guy is great,” said the fellow I sat down next to. The lecture was about a study on the psychological effects of cell size. I soon realized they weren’t talking about skin cells or stem cells or any other type of cell to do with the human body, except as a place in which to incarcerate a human body. But the talk was fascinating, much more interesting than the droning on about side effects and up-selling and aisle-end displays that I’d been expecting to snore through for four days.

And the Associated Penal Workers conventioneers were much more lively than my fellow pharmacists, who – you have to admit – are a lot like accountants except for being even more boring and staid. These guys and gals had high pressure jobs and they relished a chance to get away, let loose, share war stories. So I hung out with them and had a blast and I made up war stories. And discovered that I’m a pretty good liar, given the chance.

I made up a prison and I made up the prisoners and no one seemed the wiser. I loosened my tie and rolled up my sleeves and showed off the scar I got from falling off my bike when I was ten, except I told people it was from a knife whittled from a toothbrush handle, and my accent slid into the southern drawl of my maternal grandfather.

I never had more fun in my life.

Next year I think I’ll crash the Mortician’s convention. I bet they have some good stories.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

1 Comment

  1. Perry Hayward

    This is great! Not sure that morticians would be as much fun as penal officers, but who knows.

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